Security Clearances and Processing Delays

In recent years, visa applications have been scrutinized more closely. Some applicants are now subject to an additional name check clearance, where consular officers send the visa applicant’s name to be checked against information in various security, law enforcement, and intelligence databases.

There are 4 common checks you might face, but you will not be notified about the type of check. Consular officers routinely refer to security clearance delays simply as "administrative processing."

Administrative processing and visa wait times >>

You're more likely to face a check if:

  • Your home country is designated by the US government as a state sponsor of terrorism
  • Your research field involves sensitive technologies
  • You have a common name, or the same name as someone on a terrorism watch list

Most delays are resolved within 30-60 days, and requests to expedite the clearance process are rarely granted. Refer to the written notice from the US consulate about the inquiry process, if any, as each consulate has its own process for handling inquiries. 

What you can do

There's not much you can do to expedite the process. If your field of study involves sensitive technologies, a letter from your department about your research and the public benefit it will provide might help.

If you have been waiting for more than 30 days for a visa decision, please contact ISSS to let us know. We might be able to inquire about the status of the security clearance through one of our professional organizations or the local US senator's office.